COVID-19 cases and deaths rising across the United States. As cases continue to rapidly increase, the safest way to celebrate the winter holidays this year is to stay home with the people you live with. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. Gatherings with family and friends who DO NOT LIVE with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu, especially for people who are at increased risk for severe illness and complications from COVID-19 and the flu. People at high risk include those over the age of 65, and people of any age with chronic kidney disease (CKD) at any stage, patients on dialysis, and kidney transplant recipients.
Here are a few tips for staying safe this holiday season:
Postpone holiday travel
Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19, so the best choice is to postpone travel and stay home.
Wear your face masks
Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.
- Wear a mask indoors and outdoors
- Wear a mask with 2 or more layers to help stop the spread of COVID-19
- Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face
- In cold weather, wear your mask under your scarf, ski mask, or balaclava
- Keep a spare mask handy in case your mask becomes wet from moisture in your breath or from snow or rain.
Keep social distancing
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or flu
- Keeping 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick, including those over the age of 65, and people of any age with chronic kidney disease (CKD) at any stage, patients on dialysis, and kidney transplant recipients.
Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated areas
As much as possible, avoid crowds and indoors spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors. If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors.
Wash your hands
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Bring holiday events online
The safest way to celebrate winter holidays is at home with the people you live with. Here are some ideas for celebrating the winter holidays safely
Host a virtual celebration with friends and family
- Schedule a time to eat a meal together virtually and have people show their main dish, vegetable, or dessert
- Host a virtual ugly holiday sweater contest
Gather virtually for a gift exchange or activity
- Schedule a time to meet virtually to open gifts together
- Build gingerbread houses, decorate cookies, or make holiday crafts and decorations
Enjoy seasonal decorations
- Decorate or create a winter holiday scene and take family photos at home
- Drive or walk around your community to look at decorations from a safe distance or drive through a local holiday light display
- Make holiday crafts and cards deliver to family, friends, and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others, such as leaving them at the door
Throw a virtual dance party
- For winter holidays that traditionally include music and dance, set aside time with loved ones to meet online to share music and dance – especially fun for the kids!
- Collaborate with friends and family on a holiday playlist
Enjoy the winter weather if you live somewhere with snow
- Hold a snowman or snow angel contest with neighbors or friends in your community
- Build a snow fort or other snow structure
Winter holiday celebrations will be different this year. We all need to do our part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. While you need avoid activities that place you and others at risk, it is still important to stay connected – even virtually – with friends and loved ones.